New X-Men: Academy X #16

Issue Date: 
September 2005
Story Title: 
House Divided - part 1

Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (writers), Aaron Lopresti (penciller), Brad Vancata (inker), Pete Pantazis (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Sean Ryan (asst. editor), Nick Lowe (assoc. editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The more things change, the more they stay the same. In the altered reality of the HOUSE OF M, the New Mutants and Hellions are still rivals! The New Mutant Leadership Institute trains the leaders and diplomats of the future while the Hellions are SHIELD’s elite training squad. When terrorists from Japan attack the Leadership Institute the Hellions must save their rivals from certain death. But not all the Hellions and New Mutants share the animosity of their peers. David Alleyne and Noriko Ashida are secretly in love. When the Hellions are assigned to track the terrorists back to Japan, Noriko is bumped from the mission when it is revealed that her sapien father is the leader of the terrorists they are hunting down. Desperate to save her father from certain death, Surge asks for help from David and his friends at the Leadership Institute. David agrees to help his girlfriend, but his friends refuse to tag along. David’s classmate and friend, Laurie Garrison reports all this to her father, Dr. Sean Garrison. He urges Laurie to go along with David. Laurie’s classmate, Quentin Quire telepathically learns of her and her father’s plans. In order to protect their secret agenda as SHIELD agents, Laurie uses her pheromones to force Quentin into a suicidal depression and the powerful telepath mentally kills himself!

Full Summary: 

In New York City, a special prize-giving ceremony is being held on the steps of the New Mutant Leadership Institute. Headmaster Xi’an Coy Manh is giving a congratulatory speech to the students at her Institute. She summarizes the Institute’s mission: to shape the future leaders of mutantkind and prepare them to carry on the traditions and leadership set by Lord Magnus. She emphasizes that they are not here to learn how to fight but how to lead for the betterment of mutants and humans.
David Alleyne is about to be named valedictorian, much to the chagrin of salutatorian, Quentin Quire. Laurie tells David to ignore Quentin who is just a sore loser. Tag jumps in to defend Quentin, saying that he earned his grades unlike David. Quentin is none too pleased with Tag’s efforts to defend him.
Outside the Institute, a band of human terrorists wait for the right moment to strike. Over a dozen suicide bombers rush up the steps of the Institute with orders to detonate their bombs when they get close to the students. They shout out “No New Mutants!” as they reach the assembled students. Headmaster Manh tries to possess them with her mental powers but finds that they are somehow immune to her powers.
One of the terrorists detonates his bomb but the explosion is caught in a telekinetic field from above. Descending from a SHIELD helicarrier is a band of Junior SHIELD Agents called the Hellions under the command of Agent Moonstar. Scion AKA Julian Keller remarks that they aren’t about to let a bunch of terrorists make the New Mutants look bad…since that’s their job, establishing the rivalry between the New Mutant Leadership Institute and the SHIELD Trainee Program.
The lead terrorist pulls out a pair of guns and says that they cannot let the sins of Japan go unpunished. He says that SHIELD should have sent the Red Guard after him not a bunch of children. Scion blocks the blast with his telekinesis and begins shouting orders to the other members of his squad. Synch mimics the powers of some of the Institute students and blasts several of the bombers.
Meanwhile, Prodigy assesses that the terrorists are immune to psionic powers like his, Tag’s and the Stepford Cuckoos. Laurie is eager to use her pheromones against them, but David reminds her that they aren’t combat-trained and to let the Hellions handle it.
As he says this, a female terrorist sets off her bomb nearby. Mercury jumps between them and stretches her metallic form to shield them from the blast. Headmaster Manh echoes David’s sentiments, ordering her students to stay behind Cessily’s shield and out of the fight.
Sooraya and Jubilee refuse to back down and use their powers to defend themselves to the surprise of their fellow students. Prodigy notes that neither of them has ever been too good at doing what they’re told and that they’re going to get themselves killed.
Julian notes that most of the New Mutants are running scared and that his team needs to end this quickly. Surge zooms about using her lightning speed to snatch the detonation devices from the terrorists’ hands. Wind Dancer takes down another terrorist and disables their escape vehicle. The final terrorist is about to push the button on his detonator but is stopped by Quill who shoots a barrage of spikes into his hand. The leader of the group is grabbed by Scion. He and the others are arrested and taken into custody for questioning.
As Agent Moonstar congratulates her team on their first field mission, Headmaster Manh pulls her aside and questions why the safety of her school was left to a team of trainees instead of a fully-trained SHIELD squad. Agent Moonstar informs Manh that the Hellions are the elite squad of SHIELD trainees and that they got the job done, unlike her students. She also lets Headmaster Manh know that she heard her speech and that she should be careful what she says in regards to her pro-sapien comments.
Headmaster Manh tensely thanks Agent Moonstar for her assistance though she is clearly not pleased to hear that SHIELD is monitoring her school. As the Hellions leave, Julian and Sooraya exchange snide remarks, each demeaning the future roles intended for the other. Jubilee encourages Dust to let it go, noting that Scion s only mildly cute. Dust wonders why the cute ones are always such jerks.
Laurie is also condescending to the Hellions, telling them to “go back to their cages”. This angers Sofia who calls the New Mutants a bunch of snobbish cowards and tells Laurie that she’s a “Daddy’s girl” and the worst of them all. Laurie is reprimanded by a teacher, Doug Ramsey who leads her away. Sofia says to Quill that she hates Laurie and he tells her not to let it get to her.
As the Hellions leave, Surge exchanges a furtive glance with David Alleyne. The two meet secretly in an alleyway and kiss. After making sure they weren’t seen sneaking away, the two check in with each other following the attack. David is clearly not pleased to be saved by the Hellions and wishes that Noriko were still at the Institute. She says that her powers make her a natural fit for SHIELD and the two decide to make out some more rather than continue what seems to be an ongoing debate.
Back at SHIELD headquarters, Agent Moonstar receives a new assignment for her Hellions from SHIELD Red Guard, Mystique. Moonstar doesn’t see how she can ask her team to do this and Mystique suggests that perhaps a change of plan is in order. Elsewhere, Julian and Sofia are snuggling on a couch watching a wrestling match between Rockslide and Strongarm. The pair speaks briefly about their future as SHIELD agents and Julian confesses that he wishes they could use their powers in less life-threatening situations. Julian expresses his concern for Sofia’s safety. Their talk is interrupted by Moonstar who summons the two lovebirds to a team meeting.
The Hellions are introduced to their new teammate, Magik. Scion says they don’t need a new team member, especially one as young as Illyana. She teleports him to the bottom of an active volcano to prove her worth to the team. He relents and affirms that she’s in.
Moonstar explains that they have a new mission and that Magik will be replacing Surge. She explains that the bombers today were affiliated with a human terrorist cell in Japan and that their mission is to find them and shut them down. She notes that Emperor Sunfire is not pleased with their activities. Noriko is confused and asks why she’s being excluded from the mission when she is the one team member who knows Emperor Sunfire and speaks Japanese. Moonstar points out that the terrorist leader has been identified as her father, Seiji Ashida.
Back at the New Mutant Leadership Institute, Headmaster Manh reminds her students that Dr. Sean Garrison is available for personal counseling in the wake of the day’s traumatic attacks. The students casually discuss who might go in for a session and Dust and Jubilee opt to head to the mall instead. Quentin says that they shouldn’t trust Garrison and the Stepford Cuckoos reply that they trust Garrison more than they do him. They make it perfectly clear that no one at the school likes Quentin. Brian says that he likes Quentin, who could care less. Quentin notes the surprising arrival of Noriko Ashida who asks for David. Mercury points her in the right direction and the New Mutants all wonder why she’s there.
Nori finds David and tells him she’s been given time off. He’s excited and offers to get tickets to the Josh Guthrie concert coming up. She clarifies that she’s been taken off the Hellions squad and explains the circumstances with the team’s assignment to take down her father’s terrorist group in Japan. They discuss why they would tell all of this to Noriko and then remove her from the mission. David is relieved that she won’t be on such a dangerous mission and put in a position where she might have to fight or kill her own father.
She notes that her father is a stranger to her and they haven’t even spoken since Emperor Sunfire removed her from her home and sent her here. She asks if David speaks to his sapien parents and he says he doesn’t and that sometimes feels wrong to him. Nori is confused but wants to try to find a way to defuse the situation and prevent her father from being killed. She says that she shouldn’t care since her father is a terrorist, but that she does. She asks David to help her find her father before the Hellions do and get him out of Japan.
David discusses Noriko’s plight with Laurie and Cessily. Laurie thinks that Surge’s father should be brought in, especially since he tried to blow them all up today. Mercury is just upset that David was dating a Hellion and kept it a secret from them. When Laurie asks why he should be saved, Noriko admits that it’s because he’s her father. She goes on to say that they don’t all have a mutant parent like Laurie and that sapiens make mistakes. She brings up Laurie’s mom and Laurie gets angry and defensive. She says that her mother tried to keep her away from her father and she doesn’t know if she’d care if someone wanted her dead. Mercury puts a hand on Laurie’s shoulder and says that they both know that she would care. Laurie says that it doesn’t change that Nori’s father is a dangerous terrorist and that SHIELD should be going after him. Mercury agrees and tells David that they just can’t do this for him. David understands and agrees that it was a lot to ask of them. Laurie adds that they shouldn’t be getting involved in this, but David says that he has to try for Noriko’s sake. He asks them to keep this a secret and Laurie assures him that they will.
In Tokyo, the Hellions arrive via Magik’s stepping disks in time to thwart a terrorist attack on an employee of Project Genesis. The terrorists train their guns on the Hellions and prepare to fire.
Back at the Institute, Laurie pays a visit to her father and tells him all about the situation with David and Noriko and their plans to intervene on her father’s behalf.
When she leaves his office, Quentin is in the hallway who confronts her and asks what she and David are up to. She says it’s not his business and he threatens to telepathically pry it from her mind. He does so and sees that David plans to go to Japan and that Laurie’s father told her to go with him. Quentin wonders why he would do this and stumbles upon a dark secret about Laurie and her father. Laurie says that if he knows their secret, then he also knows that he shouldn’t mess with her. He says that she shouldn’t mess with him since he could telepathically shut down her mind, killing her in an instant. She says that that must be how he’d kill himself if he were suicidal. She then unleashes a cloud of black pheromones designed to make him severely depressed. She notes that they give her complete control of him and are untraceable. Blood erupts from Quentin’s nose and mouth as he telepathically forces his own mind to shut off. Shrouded in shadows, Laurie apologizes but makes it clear that she couldn’t have him tell anyone about her until David and Noriko have lead her to the Japanese resistance group. She tells Quentin he shouldn’t have gone in her head because SHIELD likes its secret agents to remain a secret.

Characters Involved: 

Dust, Jubilee, Mercury, Prodigy, Quentin Quire, The Stepford Cuckoos (Celeste, Esme, Mindee, Phoebe and Sophie), Tag, Wallflower, (all students at the New Mutant Leadership Institute)
Magik, Quill, Julian Keller/Scion, Surge, Synch, Wind Dancer, (all members of the Hellions, Junior SHIELD Agents)
Karma, Cypher, Dr. Sean Garrison (Staff at the New Mutant Leadership Institute)
Danielle Moonstar, Northstar, Aurora (all SHIELD Agents/Trainers)
Mystique (SHIELD Red Guard)
Victor Borkowski/Anole (SHIELD trainee)
Unnamed SHIELD trainee squad members
Various unnamed students at the New Mutant Leadership Institute
Terrorists from a Japan-based human resistance group including Doyle
A Japanese scientist working for Project Genesis
On TV:

Wrestling match referee and audience members

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place in the altered reality ruled by Magneto and the HOUSE OF M, created by the reality-warping powers of the Scarlet Witch. As such, the histories and affiliations of some characters have changed significantly. Here are some of the significant alterations caused by this shift:
Several deceased mutants are alive and well. Featured in this issue are Cypher and Magik of the original New Mutants, Esme and Sophie of the Stepford Cuckoos and Synch of Generation X.
Danielle Moonstar has a glow around her left eye reminiscent of the power effect used by characters like Longshot and Cable.
Julian Keller is operating under the codename Scion instead of Hellion. In the main reality, Julian chose the name Hellion in part to impress Emma Frost and pay homage to her original team of mutants. Since she did not serve as his teacher in this reality, he opted for a different codename.
Many of the students were removed from the care of their human parents. As a result, Laurie Collins AKA Wallflower was raised primarily by her father, Dr. Sean Garrison and goes by the last name Garrison. She has a distinctly different personality and proficiency with her powers as a result.
Dust is shown wearing modern clothing and acting in a very Westernized fashion. It is safe to assume that she was removed from her parents as well and raised outside of the Afghani culture. She is also shown in human form controlling a cloud of dust, something she has not been shown doing in the core reality.
Wolfsbane and Northstar are shown with the Hellions on the cover of this issue but neither appears with the team in this story.
The New Mutant Leadership Institute is housed in the United Nations building in New York City.
Among the group of SHIELD trainees shown working with Northstar and Aurora are two members of the band of mutants led by Unus the Untouchable in Excalibur (2nd Series). One is a goggle-sporting mutant with electrical powers. The other is a large reptilian mutant. A flying female with blond hair who is also shown with this training squad could be the unnamed female member of Unus’ gang.
Rockslide is shown as a wrestler. This mirrors events in NEW X-MEN: HELLIONS in which Santo is granted his wish to be a star wrestler. He is even shown fighting the same opponent (Strongarm) as he was in NEW X-MEN: HELLIONS #2.
Surge’s father, Seiji Ashida is named for the first time in this issue.
Illyana is younger than the other mutants here, because apparently in this reality she grew up naturally instead of aging seven years in Limbo. This, of course, beggars the question, where her penchant for swords or the codename Magik comes from.

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